Before I came here, I was even told by my auntie who often visits that most people here will look just like me (I am of Norwegian descent). I think because of this and other conversations I had, I came to Norway with the notion that most people would look like me: white, blonde hair, blue eyes.
Anywhere you travel, perspectives on immigration differ. It is always a highly debated subject that people seem to have strong opinions about. Norway is no different. In my first week here, my experiences alone have given me interesting insight on the issue.
Unfortunately, it seems that some are opposed to immigration, and view it as a threat to the Norwegian culture. I sat down with someone who holds this view, although I didn’t know he felt this way until he referred to immigrants as “screwballs who don’t care about the culture, the language, or anything else.” He believes that these people come to Norway because they just want something for free. This source was an 80 year old man of Norwegian descent, but born in North Dakota. In my experience, the older generations tend to be less open to change. This was proven during my next significant encounter with immigration, Minioya.
Minioya is a festival in Oslo that is dedicated to providing a safe and fun environment for children to experience live music and the culture that goes along with it. Since arriving in Norway, this was the most multicultural event I had been to. It reminded me of Canada, where we have a mix of many different cultures and ethnicities all in one place.
Interestingly, this ties into what our host Guru told us about immigration. She noted that in Norway, they like to start with the children because it is easy to teach them the culture and language. Also, they can grow up in it and then teach it to their children.
While in Norway, I would like to further examine the issue of immigration to gain a more well-rounded perspective.